By Tony Attwood
It’s been not so much of a funny old game as a funny old season. Arsenal Ladies played their first league match yesterday (April 13) in the new super league and beat Chelsea. Except that it wasn’t quite their first match of the season.
With the Women’s League moving to the summer its been eight months of waiting, although the waiting has been filled with other items. And those clubs that didn’t make it into the eight team super league now play in a reformatted premier league which still plays through the winter.
In fact Arsenal started in Europe last September / October when we beat ZFK Masinac 12-1 over two games followed by a 4-3 aggregate against Rati Vallecano in November.
We joined the FA Cup in the fifth round, beating Everton who have been the main rivals for a few years, 2-0 in March. Then back to Europe for a 3-3 aggregate with Linkoping, going through on away goals.
Sunderland were knocked out in the next round of the FA Cup, and after that in Europe it was Lyon and a 0-2 away defeat. The return game is on 16 April. After that it is Bristol Academy in the Super League, and then Barnet in the FA Cup semi-final.
So it is that after all the months of not much going on, we’re now getting matches every few days.
The idea of moving the Super League to the summer was to get better pitches and more interest (some games are being shown on Micky Mouse TV) but yesterday’s game launching the league was played on the sort of pitch that anyone who has seen women’s football will recognise all too well. Still 2,510 turned up, plus all the media, and there was a punch up in the stand involving a bunch of primary school kids.
If you have not been paying attention we’ve won the league 12 times in the last 17 years plus a large number of cups, including the Champions League and we’re tipped to do well again.
The Football Association likes to parade themselves as the forward looking innovators of the game and were around the place trying to make it look like it was their show – but maybe at the start of the first professional women’s league in the UK we, and they, should remember that 100 years ago women’s football was as big a spectator sport in England as men’s football, and it was only squashed by the FA ruling that women’s football could not be played on the same ground as that used by a men’s team. Being as forward looking as they were, the FA kept that ruling until 1971. They still don’t allow the England Women’s team to play at Wembley.
But anyway, we are off in the league, in the semi-final of the FA Cup, have a second leg against Lyon in Europe, and I think there will also be a league cup arranged, although I don’t have details on that yet.
There’s info on the women’s game on the Arsenal.com site, although curiously not all the fixtures for the season. But then, its a funny old game, this women’s football.
Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
The men’s game
- Arsenal v the team that will present a giant toothbrush to our captain
- Arsenal squad for Europa League game
- The abuse of female footballers is appalling, but there is a wider context
- Why Arsenal v Glimt might be tougher than the game against Tottenham
- Is the team that passes the most, the team that gets the best results?